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Subscribe to feeds on private blogs

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Today we released a new plugin for WordPress that allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds of private blogs using any RSS reader.

When you are logged in and viewing a private blog, the RSS feed links will now contain a special key unique to you and the blog that gives your reader access to the feed. There is nothing special you need to do, just subscribe as usual and feeds from private blogs will now work without redirecting your reader to the login page.

Oops, I emailed my private feed link to everyone!

If you accidentally share your personal feed link with others, you can go to your profile page and revoke your key for the blog in question.

Profile Screen Shot, showing the ability to revoke keys.

Note that you will need to resubscribe to the feeds yourself if you revoke a key.

FAQs

  • If someone finds out my key, can they use it to access my other sites?
    No, keys are per-user and per-site.
  • I removed a user from my private site, will they still see updates?
    No, the feed keys just authenticate the user, they still are checked against the subscriber list before showing them content.
  • Will my feed key let me edit without logging in?
    No, the key only grants access to feeds, nothing more.

WordPress feeds can now include pages

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

During the past few years new versions of WordPress have made this system much easier to use — and our community has made use of these new abilities to make a wide range of sites structured in many ways.

Most of the content in WordPress sites are Posts, chronologically ordered entries that make up a ‘blog’ or news site. Pages on the other hand, are non-time-dependent content that can be arranged in a hierarchy. Traditionally, Pages in WordPress sites were used mostly for describing the blog, contact information, or other content that rarely changes and isn’t ‘newsworthy’. (more on Posts vs. Pages)

Recently, a number of sites have been making increasingly large use of Pages, such as to hold curricular resources that are then referenced from Posts describing assignments that use them. For sites that make significant use of Pages, site-owners can now enable the RSS Includes Pages plugin so that new pages are added to your site’s main feed. For course sites in WordPress, enabling this plugin will allow page additions to be fed into the Course Hub as updates.

We still recommend making use of Posts in WordPress sites to share new material with readers rather than heavily using Pages as Pages are still second-class citizens in many ways (such as support for tagging and categorization). With the new RSS Includes Pages plugin, Page-heavy sites can now feed new content to the Course Hub and others subscribed to their feeds.

Customize your LIS blog subscriptions

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Are you sick of automatically getting every last post and comment from this blog fed to your RSS reader or your email? Think ★ The Essentials is anything BUT essential? Don’t despair–you have options to get just the blog posts or comments you need. First, unsubscribe from the offending categories, comment, or tag feeds. Think about the categories and tags you’re really interested in, and then subscribe to them.

For example: say I work in the Music Library and only want to receive blog posts that relate to the Music Library. I find the Music Library tag (if it doesn’t display in the tag cloud, you can type music library in the search box and find a post that uses it as a tag, and click the tag). Then from the Music library tag page, I will type /feed to the end of the tag URL (http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/tag/music-library/feed), and click enter. If I’m using an updated browser like Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer 7 or higher, a dialog for setting up the subscription using some of the most popular feed readers like Google Reader, iGoogle, My Yahoo, or Live Bookmarks (in Firefox) will automatically appear. Users of Outlook 2007 can subscribe to RSS feeds via email through this same method, or by pasting the feed link into the Outlook 2007 RSS account settings dialog box.

Another example, using categories instead of tags: Say I am in Collection management and only want to receive blog posts about my area. All I need to do is click on the category Collection management, and add /feed to the end of the URL (http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/category/areas-and-workgroups/collection-management/feed) and click enter, and my browser will ask me which reader or email service I’d like to use to receive my updates.

We even have the option to subscribe to only posts made by specific authors. See the list of names at the bottom right side of the front LIS blog page? Click the RSS button next to the name or copy and paste the feed URL into Outlook 2007 to subscribe: (e.g. to get only posts written by the Dean of LIS, you’d use: http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/author/mdroy/feed/)

If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to adjust the amount of items you receive from your blog subscriptions. If you have your subscriptions set up well, you won’t need to keep visiting the blog to see what’s new–it will automatically come to your RSS reader or your email. It is a good idea to check back on the blog once every so often to make sure you’re not missing any salient new categories or posts. And taking a look at your reader or email subscriptions every once in a while to weed out any frequently-unread feeds will help you control the volume of posts that you receive.

Also check out an earlier post I made about how the LIS Website team set up Categories and Tags on this blog.